Staging Landscapes, Turning Pages: The scenography of A Fortunate Man

Pinchbeck, Michael (2019) Staging Landscapes, Turning Pages: The scenography of A Fortunate Man. Contemporary Theatre Review . ISSN 1048-6801

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Abstract

To mark its 50th anniversary, Michael Pinchbeck was commissioned by New Perspectives to write and devise a new show inspired by A Fortunate Man; the 1967 book by writer John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr. Offering an in-depth study of a country doctor who, after years of caring for people took his own life, the book has been widely hailed as one of the most influential texts ever written on the subject of medicine, treatment and care. Using archive film footage and contemporary reportage, the production is part slide show, part documentary, part adaptation. Text and images merge on screen to evoke the landscape of the book, and a sense of the time and place that it depicts: the Forest of Dean in the 1960s. The stage is deconstructed like the life of the man who inspired the book. Its scenography aims to replicate turning the pages of the book, where images and text are in dialogue. There are three acts: Landscapes, Portraits and X-Ray.

This article for CTR, explores Berger’s concept of understanding landscapes by inhabiting them and reflects on the aesthetic, philosophical and ethical concerns of the show. Pinchbeck addresses the central research question: How do representations of landscape on stage relate to understandings of place? He suggests that our understanding of landscape is mediated by technology to create a virtual palimpsest of the rural and the urban, analogue and digital. As Berger wrote, ‘Landscapes can be deceptive’ - John Berger, A Fortunate Man (1967).

Keywords:dramaturgy, scenography, text, narrative, adaptation, John Berger, Jean Mohr, devising, landscape, portrait
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:35635
Deposited On:16 Apr 2019 12:44

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